Study Monarchs: Citizen Science Opportunities
To understand the monarch migration, we rely on the help of citizen scientists to collect data during all phases of the annual life cycle of monarch breeding, migrating, and overwintering. While measuring and studying overwintering colonies may give us the best estimate of population size, it is important to gain insight into breeding population trends and factors influencing the migration within the U.S.
Each phase of the monarch annual life cycle plays a role in the overall health and abundance of North American monarchs. To estimate the overwintering population in Mexico, staff members of the World Wildlife Fund-Mexico and Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) measure the area within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve that is occupied by monarch overwintering colonies. In the U.S., however, information about the status of breeding and migration is collected by citizen scientists.
Here, we list some of the many opportunities to participate in monarch citizen science efforts in the U.S.